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Celebrating History 001 Capitol from Bicentennial Mall Celebrating History 10 Frontier Times Celebrating History 02 Making Butter Celebrating History 03 Globe Celebrating History 04 Homecoming Parade Celebrating History 05 TN St Musuem Celebrating History 06 TN Bicent Mall Celebrating History 07 TN Cloggers Celebrating History 09 Children Enter

Celebrating History

From 1975 to 2000, Tennesseans honored their state history with important public celebrations. 
During the 1980s, Governor Lamar Alexander launched the Homecoming ’86 project. This state-wide event featured community history projects, festivals, parades, and other events in over eight hundred communities throughout the state. 
Many Tennesseans learned more about their state and local history. At the same time, it was a way for families and children to have fun.
Tennessee became a state on June 1, 1796. The 200th birthday, or bicentennial, of Tennessee becoming a state occurred in 1996. To celebrate this important anniversary, the Tennessee State Museum and other museums offered special exhibits.  The State Museum sponsored a traveling museum, Tennessee Treasures, which traveled in three trucks to every county beginning in 1993.
In 1996, a Bicentennial commission, set up by the legislature, sent another exhibit around the state on a train. Other arts and cultural organizations like symphonies presented special programs. The state also sponsored a special volunteer day for community service projects. 
One of the most enduring legacies of this celebration is the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park located near the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville. This park features a history wall recognizing many important events in the state’s past.
To learn more about the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, click here.    

In 1998, the Tennessee Historical Society published The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and culture ,  a comprehensive essays about important events and people in the state's history.  This was later added to internet at

The state boasts many city, county, and regional museums about the state’s history. The largest is the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville. This museum, with more than 70,000 sq. ft. of exhibits, -cover-s the history and culture of Tennessee. Interpretive exhibits begin 15,000 years ago with prehistoric people and continue through the early 1900s with special sections on Native American Indians, pioneers, the Antebellum age, and the Civil War. 
Some of the other Tennessee museums about history include:
Frank McClung Museum (Knoxville) 
Museum Center at 5ive Points (Cleveland)   
Tipton County Museum (Covington) 
There are also many historic homes and buildings which are opened to the public. The largest is The Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson. It has been opened as a museum since 1889, and it is estimated that more than 15 million people have tour the house and grounds. 
The Tennessee Historical Commission has a listing of all historic properties owned by the state. Click here to see the page. 
Other historic homes open to the public include:
Blount Mansion (Knoxville)
Fort Loudoun (Vonore)
James K. Polk Home (Columbia) 
Sam Davis Home (Smyrna) 

Picture Credits:
  • A photograph of the State Capitol taken from the Bicentennial Mall in Nashville. Photograph courtesy of The Tennessean
  • Photograph of children making butter. This photo was taken in 1986 at the New Hopewell Elementary School in Knoxville. It shows first grade students churning butter in their home made bonnets. Tennessee State Museum Collection, 2000.264.21.6.
  • Photograph of the Bicentennial Mall World War II Memorial. This photo was taken in 2007 in Nashville by photographer J. Gresham. It shows a large marble globe floating atop a fountain of water. A row of trees and other landscaping can also be seen in the background.
  • Photograph showing a Homecoming parade. This photo was taken in 1986 in Smyrna, Tennessee. It shows women walking and carrying a parade banner, followed by uniformed men carrying flags. Tennessee State Museum Collection, 2000.264.21.16.
  • Photograph showing the inside of the Tennessee State Museum. This photo was taken in Nashville. It features a model wagon, cabin, and water wheel from the frontier exhibit at the museum. The Tennessean.
  • Photograph of the Tennessee Bicentennial Mall. This photo was taken in 2000 by photographer, “StudioMobile.” It shows a view of the Mall from the State Capitol.
  • Photograph of the Tennessee Cloggers. This photo was taken in 1986 in Talbott, Tennessee. It shows Drudy’s Dixie Delights standing in front of a Tennessee Homecoming ‘86’ banner. Tennessee State Museum Collection, 2000.264.21.3.
  • A group of children go up the ramp to enter the Tennessee Treasures traveling exhibits.  Tennessee State Museum Collection
  • Tennessee State Museum employees Brian Hulsey and Jennifer Watts, in frontier costumes, participate in the Buchanan Log House Festival, an annual event which celebrates frontier times.  Tennessee State Museum Collection

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